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Institute Team

The 2024 Drake Institute team builds on administrative and faculty talent engaged in previous Institutes to support successful implementation of all program activities, and to engage meaningfully with the Fellows throughout their experience.

Lance Noe, Academic Director: Lance Noe directs Drake’s Center for Professional Studies and teaches in the Master of Public Administration degree program at Drake University. Lance works with local and international learners seeking professional education. He has served in an Institute leadership position since 2016 and will oversee administrative and academic components of the 2024 Institute.

Tom Root, Ph.D., Co-Academic Director: Tom Root is an Associate Professor of Finance and Department Chair in the College of Business. He has previously been involved in the Drake Institute as a mentor, volunteer, and guest speaker. In this role, he will provide critical support for the Institute curriculum. 

Kristin Economos, Leadership Manager: Kristin Economos is the Senior Director for The Adams Leadership Institute. Kristin is a new addition to the Drake Institute staff and will bring expertise in personalized leadership training and skill development from her role as the head of Drake’s undergraduate leadership program.  

Tom Swartwood, Entrepreneurship Manager: Tom Swartwood is a retired Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship at Iowa State University, and former Assistant Director of the Buchanan Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Drake University. Tom has served as a Focus Project Coach and mentor for past Drake Institute Fellows, and in 2023 he officially joined the Institute team in the role of Entrepreneurship Manager. Tom will facilitate site visits related to entrepreneurship and help the Fellows make connections with local entrepreneurs and business leaders in the greater Des Moines community. 

Sara Heijerman, Program Coordinator: As the Student Services Center Manager at Drake, Sara has provided logistical support for past Drake Institutes but is new to the Institute team this year. She brings a wealth of knowledge about campus and community resources, as well as high level organizational and project management skills. Sara will support Fellows’ acclimation to the campus and local community, manage regular Fellow communications, and provide general day-to-day support to the Drake cohort.

Jorona Johnson, Community Engagement Coordinator: Jorona Johnson is the International Student Advisor at Drake University. Jorona served in the role of Program Support Specialist in 2022 to provide additional logistics and programmatic support to the Drake Institute team. In the new role of Community Engagement Coordinator, the scope of Jorona’s work will be targeted to connecting the Fellows to the Drake and Des Moines communities through home hosted meals.

Annique Kiel, Institute Advisor: Annique Kiel is the Executive Director of Global Engagement and International Programs at Drake University. Annique is the senior leader on Drake’s campus overseeing all global activities, and she has been involved with the Drake Institute since 2016.

Additional support from across campus:

All seven academic colleges and schools across Drake’s campus are engaged with the Fellows in some capacity during the program – typically by providing faculty to lead relevant academic sessions or to serve as mentors.

Non-academic units including Sponsored Programs Administration and Research Compliance, Community Engaged Learning, and the Harkin Institute also support the Drake Institute.

Senior leadership including President Martin, Vice President John Smith, and Provost Sue Mattison are strong supporters of the Drake Institute and meet with the Fellows during the program. 

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